AFL Update: Oct. 21, 2016

afl-jake-johansen-10-20-16A two-out steal of third in the bottom of the 8th changed from dumb baserunning to a genius move when the Mesa catcher threw it away. That proved to be the gamewinner in a 3-2 win by Glendale that snapped a five-game losing streak.

It also made a winner out of Ryan Brinley, who pitched two perfect innings in the 7th and 8th with two strikeouts. He threw 20 pitches, 13 for strikes to maintain his 0.00 fall ERA.

Jake Johansen (pictured) also made a relief appearance, pitching a scoreless inning and 2/3rds. He stranded a runner in the 4th and worked around an error in the 5th. He walked one and struck none on 22 pitches (nine strikes).

Two Nats position players played:

• Osvaldo Abreu led off and played shortstop, but went 0-for-4 with a strikeout. He committed the aforementioned error, but also took part in two double plays
• Drew Ward played 1B and made nine putouts without an error in the field while going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts at the plate.

The Desert Dogs finish the week with a pair of afternoon road games in Peoria today and Surprise tomorrow.

AFL Update: Oct. 19, 2016

Arizona-Fall-League-#7It was a very light night for the Nationals prospects in Glendale’s 6-3 loss to Peoria.

Just one player appeared: Osvaldo Abreu.

The 22-y.o. Dominican started at shortstop and batted ninth. He went 1-for-3 with a walk, a run scored, a stolen base, and a strikeout. Defensively, Abreu had just two assists and no errors.

It was the fourth straight loss for the Desert Dogs, who host the River Rafters tonight.

AFL Update: Oct. 16, 2016

nick-lee-afl-10-15-16Scottsdale put up a four-spot in the 1st and never looked back as they defeated Glendale, 9-4 yesterday afternoon.

Drew Ward and Osvaldo Abreu both started and comprised the Desert Dogs’ left side of the infield at third and shortstop, respectively. Andrew Stevenson got the nod in right field (it’s a developmental league, kids).

Ward, who batted third, remains red-hot as he reached base three times with a double and two walks. He was busy at the hot corner, making four assists without an error.

Abreu batted eighth and went 1-for-4 with a strikeout. In the field, he had two assists and turned a double play.

Stevenson singled in a run and stole a base but struck out twice in four trips to the plate. He had one putout on defense.

Nick Lee (↑↑ if you haven’t figured out yet ↑↑) made his second appearance with an up-and-down inning: one unearned run allowed on one hit and two walks while striking out one. He threw 26 pitches, 10 for strikes.

Glendale is now 2-3 and has today off. They’ll start back up tomorrow afternoon as they host Peoria.

AFL Update: Oct. 14, 2016

osvaldo-abreu-10-12-16Osvaldo Abreu connected for a two-run double in the 9th (how novel) for 5-4 Desert Dogs walkoff win over the Scorpions.

Abreu (pictured from earlier this week) drove in three total with an RBI single in the 7th and finished the game 2-for-4. He started and batted eighth, but did make an error at shortstop on a missed catch.

To his right (on the field), Drew Ward played third base and and singled twice in four trips to the plate. He was caught stealing and fanned once, but made two assists (Abreu had three).

Two Nats relievers appeared in the game. Ryan Brinley came on with one out in the 5th and retired all five batters he faced over the next inning and 2/3rds, including two by way of the K.

Jake Johansen followed Brinley in the 7th and worked around a two-out single. He was not as fortunate in the 8th, as he loaded the bases with three singles and let in the fourth Surprise run with a sacrifice fly. He finished with a line of one run allowed on four hits over two innings with no walks and two whiffs.

The two teams play again tonight, with Glendale playing host. The Desert Dogs are now 2-1 and are tied for 1st place in the AFL west, percentage points behind the unbeaten (but twice tied) Peoria Javelinas (yeah, that does sound weird).

The Top 10 Position Players

The trend of a consensus on a handful then free-for-all returns with the latest iteration of the Top 10 Position Players list.

This year 21 players were named on 10 ballots (including mine). It was 24 a couple of years ago but only 15 last year.

The top two picks were either #1 or #2 in nine of the 10 ballots, as was the #1 pick. Without further ado, ze list:

  1. Trea Turner
  2. Victor Robles
  3. Wilmer Difo
  4. Anderson Franco
  5. Andrew Stevenson
  6. Christopher Bostick
  7. Pedro Severino
  8. Rafael Bautista
  9. Osvaldo Abreu
  10. Spencer Kieboom

Others receiving votes: Brian Goodwin, Drew Ward, Jose “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz, Isaac Ballou, Blake Perkins, Jakson Reetz, Rhett Wiseman, Telmito Agustin, Max Schrock, Bryan Mejia, Matt Skole

My prediction that half the names from last year’s Top 10 would be gone proved to be true, though just two could be attributed to trade (Steve Souza) and graduation (Michael Taylor). It would be difficult to characterize the disappearance of last years nos. 4-7 (Drew Ward, Jakson Reetz, Brian Goodwin, and Matt Skole) as anything other than disappointment with their 2015 seasons.

One other interesting trend that ought to be obvious: the Dominican pipeline seems to be producing more interesting players (6 of the Top 10, 8 of the twenty) than the domestic draft.

Next up: The pitchers, which I suspect will be a similar case of three or four that everybody agrees on… then a lament of the lack of lefties… and then complaints about age…

Good, Bad, Interesting — Vol. 14

Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 39-62, 6th place I.L. North, 15 games behind

Good Paolo Espino 8BB in 66⅔ IP
Bad Trea Turner 7E in 23G
Interesting Kevin Keyes 15-game OBP streak

HARRISBURG SENATORS 49-51, 5th place E.L. West, 6 games behind

Good Cutter Dykstra .304/.368/.532 in July (21G)
Bad Dakota Bacus 1-2, 6.04 ERA, 1.66 WHIP in July (4GS)
Interesting Isaac Ballou .288/.382/.356 since callup (19G)

POTOMAC NATIONALS 12-15, 4th place C.L. North, 3 games behind (45-52 overall)

Good Justin Amlung 1-0, 1.84 ERA, 0.61 WHIP in seven appearances
Bad Cody Dent 0-for-14 since callup (1-for-30 last 10G)
Interesting Nine team pitching ShO – T2nd in Carolina Lg.

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 13-15, 6th place Sally North, 6 games behind (48-48 overall)

Good Osvaldo Abreu .392/.456/.549 in July (13G)
Bad Deion Williams 0-1, 6.89 ERA, 1.98 WHIP in nine appearances
Interesting Jake Walsh 1-0, 6SV, 0.00 ERA, 0.94 WHIP

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 15-17, 4th place Pinckney Division, New York-Penn League, 8½ games behind

Good Grant Borne 0.64 ERA, 0.71 WHIP in 14IP
Bad Jorge Tillero .416 OPS
Interesting 1st in BA (.259) and SLG (.371) in 14-team NYPL

GCL NATIONALS 12-17, 4th place East Division, Gulf Coast League, 4 games behind

Good Telmito Agustin .357/.390/.554, 1HR, 10RBI in 17G
Bad Juan Bermudez 0-2, 6.91 ERA, 1.60 WHIP in 14⅓ IP
Interesting Carlos Acevedo 2BB in 23IP

DSL NATIONALS 21-26, 3rd place Boca Chica North, 13 games behind

Good 17-y.o. Warner Duran 1-0, 3.00 ERA, 1.13 WHIP in 24IP
Bad 17-y.o. Jesus Morales .429 OPS
Interesting 18-y.o. Gerald De La Cruz 1-1, 16.20 ERA, 3.60 WHIP, 18.4BB/9IP 14.0K/9IP

Good, Bad, Interesting — Vol. 10

Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 26-49, 6th place I.L. North, 16½ games behind

Good Taylor Jordan 14 consecutive scoreless IP
Bad Ricky Hague six errors in 10 games since promotion
Interesting Zero walkoff losses in the 9th

HARRISBURG SENATORS 33-41, 5th place E.L. West, 9½ games behind

Good Trea Turner .359/.366/.513 in 10 games prior to AAA promotion
Bad Sammy Solis 0-3, 7.94 ERA, 2.03 WHIP in nine appearances
Interesting Gilberto Mendez 1-0, 3SV 0.57 ERA, 0.96 WHIP in last 10 appearances

POTOMAC NATIONALS 0-2, T2nd place, 2 game behind (33-39 overall)

Good John Simms 1-1, 2.84 ERA, 1.07 WHIP in June (4 GS)
Bad Isaac Ballou .177/.215/.275 in June (21G)
Interesting Two balks, fewest in the Carolina League

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 0-2, T3rd place Sally North, 2 games behind (35-35 overall)

Good Osvaldo Abreu .414 (14-for-42) in last 10G
Bad Six of 23 pitchers used thus far have been released or demoted.
Interesting Austin Davidson 15-game hit streak

DSL NATIONALS 9-15, 5th place Boca Chica North, 10 games behind

Good 18-y.o. Nector Ramirez 4-0, 1SV, 1.89 ERA, 1.00 WHIP in 19IP (7 appearances)
Bad 17-y.o. Bryan Bencosme .510 OPS, 11E in 20G
Interesting 17-y.o. Juan Evangelista 7 of 15H have been XBH, 11RBI, .183 BA

Good, Bad, Interesting – Vol. 1

Not sure if there’s joy in Mudville, but I’m hoping this will help. After five years of being a Friday feature, we’re shifting this feature to the weekends (Saturday’s the goal, but I reserve the right to push it to Sunday 😉

For the newcomers…. this a silly little thing I began a few years ago on a lark. It’s somehow become one of the site’s staples. Stolen from Named after comedian Demetri Martin’s segment of the same name from his too-brief (2009-2010) run on Comedy Central, it’s another way of taking a look at who’s doing well, poorly, or something unexpected.

Invariably, it seems that whenever a player makes this list — good or bad — his fortune turns. Of course, that’s merely coincidence, but as much as we embrace science and statistics, superstition will always have a place in baseball narrative. Therefore, this effect is known as “the curse of the GBI.”

Now, for the usual disclaimers… it’s early, sample sizes are small, stats in the minors aren’t as meaningful as we think, void where prohibited, professional driver on closed course, etc.

And the usual reminder: The guys, their families, and their agents reading this, so keep it clean in the comments. This is just for fun.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 5-9, 5th place I.L. North, 5½ games behind

Good Jason Martinson .313/.365/.479, 2HR in 13G
Bad Manny Delcarmen 15.95 ERA, 2.73 WHIP in six appearances
Interesting Team 2.7 BB/9IP leads Int’l Lg.

HARRISBURG SENATORS 7-8, T3rd place E.L. West, 2 games behind

Good C’s Pedro Severino & Cole Leonida 2SB, 10CS
Bad Stephen Perez .465 OPS in 15G
Interesting Matt Skole 10BB, 20K in 15G

POTOMAC NATIONALS 9-6, 2nd place C.L. North, ½ game behind

Good Wilmer Difo .305/.379/.525, 3HR, 10RBI in 15G
Bad James Yezzo .138/.278/.207, 8K in 10G
Interesting 10HR in 15G — 1st in Car. Lg.

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 6-9, T6th place Sally North, 6 games behind

Good Austen Williams 2-0, 0.57/1.96/0.96 in 3GS
Bad Osvaldo Abreu 6E in 13G
Interesting One (1) hold in 15G

Good, Bad, Interesting… 2014 Season Final

Our final look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues. Repeats from 2013 are in italics.

81-62, 1st place International League North, 2½ games ahead

Good Bat: Steve Souza .350/.432/.590, 18HR, 75RBI, 26SB in 96G
Arm: Taylor Hill 11-7, 1SV, 2.81 ERA, 1.56 BB/9, 144 IP
Bad Bat: Josh Johnson .622 OPS in 90G
Arm: Josh Roenicke 5.45 ERA, 1.71 WHIP in 23 appearances, 15 starts (79⅓ IP)
Interesting Bat: Emmanuel Burriss .300/.377/.412, 22SB, 22E in 116G
Arm: Rafael Martin 1-1, 10 SV, 0.80 ERA, 0.80 WHIP in 33⅔ IP

53-89, 6th place Eastern League Western Division, 26 games behind

Good Bat: Michael Taylor .313/.396/.539, 22HR, 34SB in 98G
Arm: A.J. Cole 6-3, 2.92/2.58/1.32, 61K in 14GS (71IP)
Bad Bat: Adrian Sanchez .568 OPS, 11E in 89G
Arm: Zach Kroenke 3-9, 6.72 ERA, 1.82 WHIP, 13HR in 83IP
Interesting Bat: Kevin Keyes .740 OPS, 20HR in 114G
Arm: Matt Grace 3-1, 3SV, 1.02 ERA, 1.25 WHIP in 22 appearances (35⅓ IP)

40-27 in 2nd half, 1st place Carolina League Northern Division, 7 games ahead
38-31 in 1st half, 1st place, 4½ games ahead
78-58 overall

Good Bat: Tony Renda .307/.381/.377, 10SB in 107G
Arm: Matt Spann 9-5, 3.81/4.09/1.38, 4HR in 106⅓ IP
Bad Bat: Justin Miller .625 OPS, 53K in 62G
Arm: Brett Mooneyham 2-4, 7.36 ERA, 2.12 WHIP in 33IP (10 appearances, 7 starts)
Interesting Bat: Pedro Severino .308/.379/.477 in 2nd half, .199/.246/.335 in 1st half
Arm: Ian Dickson 3-4, 2.64 ERA in 2nd half, 1-4, 6.25 in 1st half

43-27 in 2nd half, T1st place South Atlantic League Northern Division, won on tiebreaker
44-26 in 1st half, T1st place, lost on tiebreaker
87-53 overall

Good Bat: Wilmer Difo .315/.360/.470, 14HR , 49SBs in 136G
Arm: Lucas Giolito 10-2, 2.20/3.16/1.00 in 98IP (20 starts)
Bad Bat: David Masters .522 OPS, 7E in 51G
Arm: Jake Johansen 5-6, 5.19/4.05/1.74 in 100⅔ IP (29 appearances, 18 starts)
Interesting Bat: Rafael Bautista .290/.341/.382, 69SB in 134G
Arm: Reynaldo Lopez 4-1, 1.33/2.91/0.80 in 47&8531; IP (nine starts)

34-41, 3rd Place Pinckney Division of New York-Penn League, 13½ games behind

Good Bat: Raudy Read .281/.332/.462, 6HR in 57G
Arm: Travis Ott 1-2, 3.05/3.98/1.24 in 44&⅓ IP (10 starts)
Bad Bat: Osvaldo Abreu .584 OPS, 20E in 58G
Arm: David Ramos 1-2, 1SV, 7.97 ERA, 1.82 WHIP in 15 appearances
Interesting Bat: Jose “Orange” Marmolejos-Diaz .265/.341/.385 in 65G
Arm: 19-y.o. Mario Sanchez 6-1, 3.50 FIP, 1.17WHIP in 35IP (18 appearances)

25-35, T3rd place Gulf Coast League East Dvision, 12 games behind

Good Bat: 18-y.o. Jakson Reetz .274/.429/.368 in 43G
Arm: 19-y.o. Jean Ramirez 3-1, 1SV, 3.41/3.60/1.45 in 31⅔ IP (14 appearances)
Bad Bat: Darryl Florentino .195/.222/.273 in 43G
Arm: Deibi Yrizarri 2-4, 9.08 ERA, 1.83 WHIP, 10HBP in 36⅔ IP
Interesting Bat: 18-y.o. Aldrem Corredor .411 OBP, 25BB, 18K in 32G
Arm: 20-y.o. John Feliz 3-1, 1.08 ERA, 0.72 WHIP in 10 appearances (promoted to Auburn)

42-28, 3rd place, Boca Chica South Division of Dominican Summer League, 8½ games behind

Good Bat: 17-y.o. Davinson Pimentel .350/.443/.550 in 55G
Arm: 19-y.o. Joan Baez 4-1, 1.15/2.96/1.00 in 71⅓ IP (15 appearances, 14 starts – promoted to GCL)
Bad Bat: 18-y.o. Neivy Pilier .171/.265/.205 in 37G
Arm: 18-y.o. Jose Nunez 0-0, 8.25ERA, 2.50 WHIP in 24IP (12 appearances, 4 starts)
Interesting Bat: 17-y.o. Telmito Agustin .300/.413/.495, 25SB in 60G
Arm: 17-y.o. Yonathan Ramirez 3-0, 2SV, 2.63/2.59/0.91 in 27⅓ IP (11 appearances)

Good, Bad, Interesting — Vol. 19

Our weekly look at the leaders, trailers, and outliers in the Washington Nationals minor leagues.

SYRACUSE CHIEFS 75-55, 1st place I.L. North, 2½ games ahead

Good Matt Grace .114 OBA vs. LHBs
Bad 16-19 record in one-run games
Interesting 53 steals allowed, 2nd fewest in the I.L.

HARRISBURG SENATORS 49-81, 6th place E.L. West, 22½ games behind (eliminated)

Good Matt Skole 69BB, 2nd most in E.L.
Bad Team 21 holds, 2nd fewest in E.L.
Interesting 49 wins fewest since 2007, chance to “beat” 2004 team at 52 wins

POTOMAC NATIONALS 32-22, 1st place C.L. North Division, 5 games ahead (70-53 overall)

Good Kylin Turnbull 2-0, 0.79 ERA, 1.15 WHIP in August (5 appearances)
Bad Randolph Oduber 100K, 14BB in 112G
Interesting 17-17 road record, 1st half; 16-6 road record, 2nd half

HAGERSTOWN SUNS 38-22, 1st place Sally League North Divison, 2 games ahead (82-48 overall)

Good Reynaldo Lopez 2-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.52 WHIP, 16K since return to Low-A (23IP)
Bad Suns bullpen 5.81 ERA in August
Interesting 59-18 record when scoring first

AUBURN DOUBLEDAYS 27-36, 5th place Pinckney Division, N.Y.-Penn League, 11 games behind

Good Luis Torres 1-1, 1.63 ERA, 1.16 WHIP in 10 appearances (27⅔ IP)
Bad Osavldo Abreu 17E in 47G
Interesting 45 Pitching HBP, 2nd in 14-team NYPL

GCL NATIONALS 25-28, 3rd Place GCL East, 5 games behind

Good Jakson Reetz .341/.436/.477 in August (14G)
Bad McKenzie Mills 2.10 WHIP in 20IP
Interesting 8SV, tied for fewest in GCL

DSL NATIONALS 42-28, 3rd Place Boca Chica South Division, 8½ games behind (eliminated)

Good 17-y.o. Yonathan Ramirez 29K in 27⅓ IP
Bad 17-y.o. Luis Perdomo .520 OPS
Interesting 17-y.o. Telmito Agustin, 40BB, 25SB, 7CS

Editor’s note: The next GBI will be published in two weeks, after the close of the regular season.